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Mike L. Nichols
I'm Still Not Tall Enough to Reach

She kept her religion sheathed
in manila, high on a closet shelf.
She’d tippy-toe it down at bedtime,
scribble invincible convictions in it.

On Sunday afternoons she’d bend
back the weakened metal clasps
and read from it to me, tracing
the text with an accusing finger.

The moment they wheeled her body
out, I lugged a kitchen chair upstairs
and opened the envelope. I slipped free
the sheaf. I pored over each blank page.